02 January 2019

My PhD - What is it?

Good question, that.

Three months ago, when I started, I would have given you an answer. Right now...it's kind of in flux. This is something I've been assured is a natural part of the process. I write an outline, my supervisors read the outline, critique takes place, I repeat the process. 

I know the problem I want to address. Copyright law, especially when applied in the area of what's known as "secondary creativity" - new works built on the foundation of existing works - is a spectacular mess. It's such a mess that nobody really knows where the border is between an acceptable use of someone else's work as a source of inspiration and an impermissible unlicensed use of the work. And when I say nobody, I mean nobody. Not the people creating secondary works, not the owners of the originals, not lawyers, not judges, not policymakers. Nobody.

The problem with this problem is that it's too big. It's not something that can be addressed within the scope of a single PhD thesis. So the search for how, exactly, to narrow the scope continues. I've made good progress on that, and will have more on it later.

For now, I'll say this:
I'm going to be looking at fan creativity, and at the question of why we've been having such a hard time answering the questions that arise around it.

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